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Entrepreneurship, saving and social mobility

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  • Vincenzo Quadrini

Abstract

This paper examines entrepreneurship in order to analyze, first, the degree to which the opportunity to start or own a business affects the household's saving behavior and the implication of this behavior for the distribution of wealth and, second, the relationship between the extent of entrepreneurship in the economy and socioeconomic mobility, that is, the movement of families across wealth classes over time. First, a number of stylized facts based on data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) are outlined. They show relevant differences in asset holdings and wealth mobility between entrepreneurs - economic agents that own a business - and workers. Second, a dynamic general equilibrium model of income and wealth distribution with an explicit entrepreneurial choice is developed. The model is calibrated to match the key features of the data, and it is then used to obtain an estimate of the quantitative importance for capital accumulation and wealth concentration of households that undertake entrepreneurial activities, via their different microeconomic behavior. Through the modeling of the entrepreneurial activities, the model economy developed in this study generates a stationary distribution of wealth with a degree of concentration that accounts for the inequality observed in the U. S. economy. The model also successfully replicates the main patterns of socioeconomic mobility in which entrepreneurs experience higher upward mobility than workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics with number 116.

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Date of creation: 1997
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:116

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Keywords: Saving and investment ; Small business;

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  1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  2. Abhijit Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1989. "Risk-Bearing and the Theory of Income Distribution," Discussion Papers 877, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
  4. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & BRUCE C. PETERSEN, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
  5. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-27, August.
  6. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  7. Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1990. "The Intergenerational Correlation between Children's Adult Earnings and Their Parents' Income: Result from the Michigan Panel Survey of Income Dynamics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 36(2), pages 115-27, June.
  8. Simon Gilchrist & Charles P. Himmelberg, 1993. "Evidence on the role of cash flow for investment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-7, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
  10. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1993. "The Importance of Precautionary Motives in Explaining Individual and Aggregate Saving," NBER Working Papers 4516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," NBER Working Papers 7894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  13. Christopher D. Carroll, 1998. "Why Do the Rich Save So Much?," NBER Working Papers 6549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gentry William M. & Hubbard R. Glenn, 2004. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-57, August.
  15. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  16. Quadrini, Vincenzo, 1999. "The Importance of Entrepreneurship for Wealth Concentration and Mobility," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(1), pages 1-19, March.
  17. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 1997. "A Theory of Trickle-Down Growth and Development," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 151-72, April.
  19. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
  20. Diaz-Gimenez, Javier & Prescott, Edward C. & Fitzgerald, Terry & Alvarez, Fernando, 1992. "Banking in computable general equilibrium economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 533-559.
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